Transit Elevated Bus (TEB)
In August 2016, a futuristic public transport solution, the Transit Elevated Bus (TEB), began being tested in Qinhuangdao, China.
Chinese company Shenzhen Huashi Future Parking Equipment proposed the innovative design as a way of addressing the problem of congestion caused by rapid urbanisation and population growth of many of China's cities.
The TEB is a bus that straddles traffic by driving over the top of it, running along fixed tracks. Its main compartment is elevated, leaving the street clear for cars underneath. The design also incorporates solar panels on the roof and at bus stops to partially power the vehicle.
The vehicles could be capable of holding up to 1,200 passengers each and travel at 40 m/h (60 km/h). Designers estimate that the vehicles could reduce traffic congestion on main roads by 25-30%. They also highlight the relative affordability of the system - the construction cost of one TEB and 25 miles of route facilities is estimated at around $7.4 m, one-tenth the cost of building the same length of subway line.
Youzhou Song, the vehicle’s designer said: “The straddling bus could replace up to 40 conventional buses, potentially saving the 860 tons of fuel that 40 buses would consume annually, and preventing 2,640 tons of carbon emissions.”
When the designs were first proposed many around the world greeted them with scepticism, however, testing on a prototype began in August 2016. The bus measures 22 m in length x 7.8 m wide (72 ft x 25 ft),
The testing is taking place on 300 metre-long test track, evaluating the braking system, drag and power consumption. Once complete, it will progress on to further testing stages.
But the TEB isn’t ready to deal with competing traffic just yet. For now, the TEB is limited to a 300 meter long test track that will evaluate the braking system, drag and power consumption. Once complete, the straddling bus will move on to further testing stages.
Despite being an unproven solution, countries such as Brazil, France and India have expressed their interest in introducing TEBs of their own.
In June 2017, the Chinese press reported that the idea of TEB as a mass-transport system had been abandoned.
Having had a prototype developed, reports suggest that those who tested it were left underwhelmed, with some saying that it ran too slowly and became overheated.
Other issues that have been cited for the scrapping of the elevated bus include the way it interacts with other vehicles, particularly those fitted with roof-racks, and other features of the city environment, such as low bridges.
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